Minority Report — 15 years later

How the film defined the future of User Interface (UI) design.

Do you remember when you first saw the movie Minority Report? Anyone practicing interaction design at the time does. I remember watching the film and becoming fascinated by the way Tom Cruise interacted with the computer. As a digital designer, the sweeping gestures and virtual screens appeared to be a new way to interact with a digital world.

A touch of history

Movie producers (*cough* Steven Spielberg) had a problem: “How will we interact with computers in fifty years?” They approached an Interface Designer by the name of John Underkoffler to explore solutions. John and his team dove into research around how humans currently interact using gestures. They then began to imagine the possibilities of a spatial interface and went on to publish a dictionary of gestures for the film. The system was called “g-speak Spatial Operating Environment”.

He continued to act as science advisor to Speilberg and worked side-by-side with the actors in order to train them on his design system.

In 2010 John gave a TED Talk that blew the roof off the venue. Watch it here. He then went on to turn his vision into a product with a client list that includes NASA, PwC, and IBM.

“We’re not finished until all the computers in the world work like this.” — John Underkoffler

Swipe it away

The UI in this movie would permeate groups of designers as the de-facto way of interacting with tech in the future. Sometimes in jest and other times as hopeful quips of what the future might become.

It’s said that humans write our future in movies and then strive to reach those goals. John is an example of how research and focus allow us to manifest our wildest dreams.

Hi! I’m Jonathan — I run a digital product design firm, Helm Experience & Design. We work with innovative companies to build apps, websites, and tools for growth.

If you’d like to talk more about design or futuristic interfaces just send an email to jonathan@helmux.com.